Minireview: hexose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase and redox control of 11 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 activity

Kylie Hewitt, Elizabeth Walker, Paul Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

116 Citations (Scopus)


Hexose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (H6PDH) is a microsomal enzyme that is able to catalyze the first two reactions of an endoluminal pentose phosphate pathway, thereby generating reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate ( NADPH) within the endoplasmic reticulum. It is distinct from the cytosolic enzyme, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PDH), using a separate pool of NAD(P)+ and capable of oxidizing several phosphorylated hexoses. It has been proposed to be a NADPH regenerating system for steroid hormone and drug metabolism, specifically in determining the set point of 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11β-HSD1) activity, the enzyme responsible for the activation and inactivation of glucocorticoids. 11β-HSD1 is a bidirectional enzyme, but in intact cells displays predominately oxo-reductase activity, a reaction requiring NADPH and leading to activation of glucocorticoids. However, in cellular homogenates or in purified preparations, 11β-HSD1 is exclusively a dehydrogenase. Because H6PDH and 11β-HSD1 are coexpressed in the inner microsomal compartment of cells, we hypothesized that H6PDH may provide 11β-HSD1 with NADPH, thus promoting oxo-reductase activity in vivo. Recently, several studies have confirmed this functional cooperation, indicating the importance of intracellular redox mechanisms for the prereceptor control of glucocorticoid availability. With the increased interest in 11β-HSD1 oxoreductase activity in the pathogenesis and treatment of several human diseases including insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome, H6PDH represents an additional novel candidate for intervention.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2539-2543
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2005


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